HEINZ HISTORY CENTER STYLED SHOOT: ROGER OBLEY

Earlier this year, I was pretty excited when the dress selected for this awesome urban styled shoot at the Heinz History Center was one of my very favorites, Peony by Wai Ching! With a fantastic team of vendors, our beautiful city, and gorgeous weather, the results were everything I had hoped for - and more.  Credits for these amazing details go to:

   * Peony by Wai Ching  and Tessa Kim veil from Glitter & Grit, modeled by Emily Stuart (along with the handsomely bearded James Schilling)
   * Photography by Rodger Obley
   * Hair + makeup by Marissa Julin
   * Styling by Soiree by Souleret
   * Rentals by All Occations
   * Linens by Mosaic
   * Flowers by Tulpe Studio at Pisarcik Greenhouses
   * Stationary by Nota Bene Fine Papers
   * Cake by Sugar 'n Spires 

All photos courtesy of Rodger Obley Photography

Succop Conservancy Wedding: Lisa & Nick

Lisa quickly became one of my favorite brides to work with, if only because she couldn't resist coming back to visit her dress, over and over! She kept apologizing but I must admit that I grew rather fond of having a "regular."  Lisa chose a very unique dress by Pennsylvania designer, UPOPPY, and paired it with a Tessa Kim sash, both from Glitter & Grit.
She was also my first Glitter & Grit bride to get married at a place very dear to my heart, the Succop Conservancy (nowSuccop Nature Park) - where I was also married, just over two years ago. Her energy and excitement for her wedding was palpable and it clearly carried through their entire day, as well.  

all photos courtesy of Too Much Awesomeness

When you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one?
I wanted a dress that was both modern and had a vintage feel, that made me feel sexy and cool but also classy, something that had unique detail but was also felt classic. The whole time I was dress shopping or even looking at dresses in magazines I never found anything that had all of those qualities and started to think maybe it was just too much for one dress. UPOPPY's Love Me dress was the last one I tried on at Glitter and Grit and it blew anything else I had seen out of the water. Also my little sister as no poker face, if something looks even slightly off you can see it all over her face. I walked out in the dress and she said "AWWWWWW!!" and that confirmed everything I thought. 

What was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it?
I think he was happy that I looked like me, that the dress fit my style, and he was also very happy it wasn't strapless. He said that the style is what he would have picked, but that all the details of it added so much more than he could have thought of. 

Please tell us your favorite thing about Nick...
Nick is just the best person I know hands down. My favorite thing about him is his personality and his character. 

Did you incorporate any traditions into your wedding?
We did dances and speeches but we left out some of the other traditional practices like something borrowed, something blue, etc. and the garter and bouquet toss. We just felt we'd rather put money/time/energy into different activities at the wedding that felt more like us. Like cornhole and a selfie station! After the ceremony we did drive off in a 1929 Ford Model A with cans tied to the back! 

Please describe the most memorable moment of the day.
The vows portion of our ceremony was pretty memorable to me. We wrote our own and did not exchange any part of them until the ceremony. I knew Nick was nervous about it and the week before the wedding I almost changed my mind and reverted to repeating more traditional vows. But in the last few days we both pulled it together and got over the writers block, and I'm so glad we did. It was amazing and very personal to hear what he had written and I hope vice versa. 

Do you have any special advice for future brides?
Just remember it's your wedding, but it's just a wedding. Try to remember what's really important on the day of. 

Thank you for sharing, Lisa - and great, big, congratulations to you and Nick!!

ADVICE: A Selection of Wedding Shoe Solutions

"What kind of shoes would you wear with this dress?"

I hear it a lot... and honestly, my answer will vary depending on your wedding location, theme, and colors, as well as your own personal style. If you walk in wearing the cutest Vans sneakers, planning your rustic barn wedding, I'm probably not going to suggest four-inch stilettos to you - unless you explicitly mention them before me. There are so many great options out there, and I'm an advocate for wearing whatever you want! 

But today, a bride brought these shoes (below) in with her, and I LOVED them.  
Well - hers were a different color, but when I saw them in watermelon, I simply couldn't resist. 

I was so inspired by these sparkly beauties, I thought maybe I should share some of my favorite shoe options with you...  {click on each image to shop from their source}

**Please keep in mind the following: I was a barefoot bride. I thought I was going to have a blast finding an awesome pair or statement shoes, and then I remembered that I kinda-sorta hate shoes, and take mine off at every chance I get. I had always said that I would get married barefoot, in the woods. So, while I was technically in a clearing, I was outside, so opted to go shoeless. In summation, most importantly: do YOU. 


(as if I haven't said that enough already...)

I had found these kick ass Sychelles T-straps in black for myself via Anthropologie (ugh, I LOVE T-straps!), and then saw they were available in Neutral. Urban-terrace-garden-party perfect.

Also Seychelles, these offer a more stable, slightly shorter heel. But just as much sass.

Speaking of Seychelles... they're what I recommend the most to my brides. They're insanely comfortable, and very reasonably priced for the quality with which they are made. So here are a few more great options from them:

Clockwise, from top left: Most Likely, Gypsy, Turning Point, and Twirl

Clockwise, from top left: Most Likely, Gypsy, Turning Point, and Twirl

I'm a strong advocate offlats, metallics as neutrals, and bold colors in wedding shoes!

I also strongly suggest wedges for anyone dealing with grass on their wedding day. Here in Pittsburgh, we don't have a lot of places to go when looking for fancy shoes, but Nordstrom is tried and true. Here are some options from there:

J. Renne "Chrissy"

J. Renne "Chrissy"

Carolinna Espinosa "Collins"

Carolinna Espinosa "Collins"

Pelle Moda "Windy"

Pelle Moda "Windy"

Lastly, don't forget about all of the online options! A lot of brides order a selection through Zappos VIP (free shipping and returns!) and keep only the shoes that are a perfect fit. You can find a collection of shoes by Betsy Johnson ("Blue by Betsy Johnson") that are really fun, among - well, I'm sure you know - infinite other options!

Clockwise, from top left: Wed, Joy, Gown, Mesh

Clockwise, from top left: Wed, Joy, Gown, Mesh

What kind of shoes are you rocking for your wedding? Share in the comments!

Omni Bedford Springs Resort Wedding: Natalie & Amir

Having personally experienced the light that IS Natalie, it came as no surprise to me that her wedding photos simply radiate love.  She looked stunning in the Aneka by Nicole Miller, paired with Camilla Christine's Letitia veil, both from Glitter & Grit.  Natalie and Amir were married on May 24th at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort. Enjoy these gorgeous photos, and hear a little more from the bride herself below.

all photos courtesy of Craig Photography

When you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one?
My mom's face! she said, "That is the one". I felt comfortable, sexy, and happy in my dress, and that's how I knew that it was the one.

What was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it?
He looked content. He was smiling so big and he told me later that I couldn't have picked a better dress!

Please share your favorite thing about Amir...
Amir is a constant inspiration. He is motivated, funny, humble, brilliant, and kind to others. He inspires me to aim for those same attributes.


Did you incorporate any traditions into your wedding?
Amir is Iranian so we had The Sofreh Aghd, a Persian wedding spread symbolizing fertility, wealth, sweetness, happiness, etc in a marriage. Amir's mom led the traditional spread after our ceremony. It was so beautiful!

Please describe the most memorable moment of the day.
Dancing with our family and friends! I was so sweaty by the end of the night because I focused on spending as much time and energy as possible dancing and laughing with everyone there.

Do you have any special advice for future brides?
The wedding is not about a big show or production. If you are doing it right, you are having a wedding to celebrate a beautiful unity and joining together two families for life. So kick back, relax, and laugh your way through it, embracing every single moment. It's not worth it to take yourself too seriously ;)

SHADY ELMS FARM STYLED SHOOT: HOT METAL STUDIO

Do you remember the movie Legend? It's romantic, it's fantastical, and it's even a little scary... all great components to inspire a styled shoot! Tif from Hot Metal Studio really wanted to feature unicorns, but they were already booked that day so their lovely cousins modeled for us instead.

We shot bright and early in the morning at the truly stunning Shady Elms Farm, and I was really blown away by how lovely it was! If you haven't been there, it's worth the trip. We had a fantastic team of contributors to this shoot: 

    * Elizabeth Dye Lewisia from Glitter & Grit, modeled by Michelle Bell
    * Photography by Hot Metal Studio
    * Hair & makeup by Kiss and Makeup
    * Styling by Alexis Maddox of {SHE}
    * Florals by Posy
    * Stationary by Jack + Bean
    * Cake by Sugar 'n Spires
    * Linens by Lendable Linens

All photos below are courtesy of Hot Metal Studio.

WASHINGTON, PA WEDDING: AMY & MIKE

There was no question; when Amy tried on the Aneka by Nicole Miller, she had found her dress. Not only did it lookslamming on her, she was suddenly just aglow. You simply can't ignore that! I love that her photographer managed to capture that glow, and that Amy and Mike are willing to share them with us! They were married at Friendship Community Church, with an awesome reception at the Washington County Fairgrounds!

Clearly, the Aneka is a big hit at Glitter & Grit, and it's absolutely clear why:

Keep on reading for a little more from Amy!

All photographs courtesy of Christopher Gooden

When you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one? 
I knew going into dress shopping that I wanted a very romantic looking all lace dress.  When I put the Nicole Miller dress on, I loved how it hugged all my curves, the key hole back and the romantic look of it. 

What was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it? 
When I was walking down the aisle, Mike was biting his lip out of nervousness, but he later told me how beautiful I looked.

Please tell us your favorite thing about Mike... 
When you meet Mike, he has a way of making you feel like you've known each other for years.  He has an infectious smile and makes everyone around him happy.  He's very easy going and just a great person.

Did you incorporate any traditions into your wedding? 
For my something old and blue, I attached my Grandma Ella's rosary, which is very old and blue.  It also made me feel like I had a part of her with me.

Please describe the most memorable moment of the day. 
Aside from marrying Mike, it was my younger brother Dan walking me down the aisle.  He's eight years younger than me, but as we've gotten older, he has become very much the "man" of our family, and our protector.  Having him walk beside me and give me away to Mike was the second best thing that happened that day, the first was marrying my love.

Do you have any special advice for future brides? 
Try not and be so stressed.  Every woman wants the perfect day, but if something doesn't go exactly as planned, remember that you have one goal, and if at the end of the day, you are married, then you had the perfect day!

STAR VENDOR: MINA ROSE BEAUTY

Meeting Amanda and Shannon, the lovely ladies behind Mina Rose, was one of those moments when I realized that our paths have crossed for a reason. There's just something that speaks volumes about makeup artists whose motto is "beauty from the inside out;" so much of what is considered beautiful is focused on the surface, but these gals just want to help your inner light shine through on your wedding day. Now, THAT'S speaking my language. 

Keep reading to hear about these two wonderful, passionate women:

When did you enter the wedding industry? What made you want to do so?
We’ve been doing makeup for friends and family since high school, but made a decision to make it formal and open our own business about a year ago. So, we both went to South Hills Beauty Academy and got our esthetician’s license (estheticians specialize in skincare techniques), and also trained in NYC at the Temptu Studios to learn airbrush makeup. 

What was your most glittering moment in your business?
The first thing (though there are many) that comes to mind is coming up with the name! We struggled for a while because we really wanted it to mean something—because our mission and what we’re about is so much more than just makeup. It’s about empowering women and our motto, ‘beauty from the inside out.’ So when we finally realized that we should name it after women we looked up to and admired, it all came together. “Mina” is for Amanda’s great-grandmother Jelsamina, and “Rose” is for Shannon’s grandmother. They were both amazing, simply put. The most incredible thing was that we later discovered that “Mina” actually means “lovely” and so we fondly refer to our clients as “Lovely Roses.”

What's your grit?
Our grit is that we embody that deeper mission and purpose beyond applying makeup—inspiring confidence in women of all ages. For that reason, we consider ourselves beauty advisors as opposed to ‘makeup artists’ or ‘estheticians’. And, we’ve been best friends since 6th grade, so when you work with us, that really shows in everything that we do. We have fun with you! We hope you think of us as friends when we leave. But most importantly, we think it’s our ability to put you at ease and pamper you. Did we mention have fun? 

What is your favorite part of what you do? 
We just love it. ALL. We love color; we love being creative. We both really love studying a woman’s (or girl’s!) features and figuring out what will enhance her natural beauty (as opposed to trying to conceal something, because everyone sees their flaws like they’re under a microscope when they are really more beautiful than they know.) Mostly, we love the look on their faces when they see themselves after the final touches because they are just so happy and confident and ready to have a blast for their special occasion. 

Please share a most memorable moment in your adventures in the industry. 
Well, this is more of a funny story! We had a bridal party of nine in a hotel room with three hairstylists doing hair as well (so needless to say, it was crowded!) We always want to be near the natural light when possible, so we wedged ourselves butt to butt against the one lone window in the room. We must have stepped on each other’s feet a million times, and were just cracking up and having a ball as usual. Plus, the bride was just so fun and silly with music going, mimosas, tales of friendship and her future hubby…you name it! That’s what’s really great too is getting to know the gals and actually being part of that celebration before the big walk down the aisle, or whatever the special occasion is for. 

Please describe your ideal client.
We really don’t have an ideal client because we want to work with all of you lovely roses! And we don’t just specialize in bridal makeup, but rather in making all women of all ages happy and confident for any special occasion. We do prom makeup, ‘coming of age’ makeup parties/lessons, and more. We also do tattoo coverage and waxing. Our style is more natural, because again, the goal is to enhance our client’s beauty. However, if you want something a little more intense/exotic for say, a bachelorette party, we can accommodate that too.

Gritty Details
Established: April 2013
Price range: 2014 Bridal pricing: $100, hour session and lipstick.   

  Maids and Moms: $60, half hour session and lipstick.
  Lashes are $10. 
  More pricing for makeup parties, lessons, tattoo coverage, etc. is available on the website
Location / travel boundaries: Our rates include travel from zip code 15017 within a 50 mile radius. A small travel fee will be applied if travel goes beyond that. 
Websiteminarosebeauty.com 
Facebookfacebook.com/minarosebeauty
Phone: 724.747.1784 and/or 412.952.9483

ADVICE: WHAT TO WEAR UNDER YOUR DRESS

Ask anyone, anywhere, in the wedding/bridal industry what the biggest trend in dresses is right now, and I guarantee it will involve the backs of dresses. Low back, no back, criss-crossy-strappy back, illusions with lace or beads and embroidery.... the list goes on. But one thing remains the same: you ladies like there to be some interesting detail on the back of your wedding dress. And who could blame you? With options like these around the market, who needs a train?!

clockwise from top: The Lady Vanishes by Elizabeth Dye, image by Mandy Fierens Photography; Willow by Janay A Handmade; Fin by Daughters of Simone; Elizabeth by Nicole Miller; Clara by Nicole Miller, image by Veronica Varos Photography; Helena by Elizabeth Dye

clockwise from top: The Lady Vanishes by Elizabeth Dye, image by Mandy Fierens Photography; Willow by Janay A Handmade; Fin by Daughters of Simone; Elizabeth by Nicole Miller; Clara by Nicole Miller, image by Veronica Varos Photography; Helena by Elizabeth Dye

They're all gorgeous, right?!? Great, in theory, but one we're trying these dresses on, and thinking about spending a day in them, often, the question comes up: what kind of bra do I wear with this?

I hear it a lot. So I thought I'd round up some great options for you, because I don't see, or want, this trend going away any time soon!

Sometimes, if you're lucky, there's enough structure in the dress itself that cups or a bustier can be added directly to it, for support and/or shape. But what if that's not the case? A lot of these dresses with fabulous backs are loose and light, and you're left to fend for your ladies, yourself. The awesome part is that there are lots of great options, depending on your needs and the dress. 

First up: there's a strap that you can attach to a bra that you already own, to make it wrap around your waist, and sit a little lower on your back. In the case of the Fin by Daughters of Simone, this may be all you need! How awesome would it be to wear your best, hardest-working bra that you already know and love on your wedding day? This option pictured here is by Nordstrom Intimates; similar items are available at Victoria's SecretKohl'sASOS... um; just about anywhere! 

So, those are all great if you can use straps on your bra on your wedding day... the chance of that? Pretty slim, sorry.

Now we need to look at low-back, strapless bras. Getting full support, with a low back and no straps, may be a little difficult, but the Dominique braselette could come in handy.

The next plan of attack is adhesive bras, which have really come a long way in the last few years! There are SO many options here. The U Plunge backless strapless bra is a great option that, because of the adhesive band, provides a good amount of support under your dress, plus you get the added bonus ofthe plunging neckline. That makes this a great option for the Nicole Miller Clara or the Helena by Elizabeth Dye, both pictured above. Victoria's Secret also makes one of these.

And, lastly, when you just need a little bit of coverage, there are adhesive cups. For the Elizabeth Dye dress pictured above, The Lady Vanishes, this is a fantastic option; the open back and draped bodice of the dress make it basically impossible to even have the side-band adhesive bra without it being visible. From what I've heard, NuBra kills it with their push-up design, which at least keeps the girls together. There are manymany of these out there,depending on what you prefer!

And, of course, if you're comfortable flying free ( but want your photos to be nipple-free? Petals are the way to go.

LE MONT WEDDING: KEIRAH & MATT

I'm super excited to share this wedding with you... Keirah was my first Wai Ching bride, which as you may know, is very near and dear to my heart, because I also rocked a Wai Ching dress on my wedding day. Keirah is incredibly sweet and laid-back, and it was such a pleasure getting to help her find the perfect dress! She wore the Prism dress, paired with the Novella sash by Tessa Kim. I think you can tell from these photos how her smile lights up the room. 

Kierah and Matt were married at Le Mont on Mt. Washington (gah, the views!!) in March. Keep reading to hear a little from the bride... 


All photos are courtesy of Joe Appel Photography.

When you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one?

I tried on several lovely pieces, but felt more like I was wearing someone else's dress.  As soon as I put on THE dress, I felt like myself - just a more sophisticated, "beautified" version - as though it was meant for me to wear on my wedding.  I have to give credit to my mom as she pick it out!

What was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it?

The huge grin and expression on Matt's face as I walked down the aisle spoke volumes.

Please share your favorite thing about Matt!

My favorite things about Matt are his calm, zen like demeanor, his sincerity and the genuine love he shows for his family and and friends.  He also has great taste in funk music *wink* !

Did you incorporate any traditions into your wedding?

It was a fairly non-traditional affair - although, I did wear something borrowed (my mom's pearls), blue (toenail polish), old (my grandmother's wedding ring) and new (my dress).

Please describe the most memorable moment of the day.

Too many memorable moments to describe! Topping the list would have to be the moments immediately following the ceremony.  Matt and I were taken to a private room and able to spend a few minutes alone laughing and celebrating and toasting our marriage. 

Do you have any special advice for future brides?

Keep it simple!

Congratulations, and thanks so much for sharing, Kierah & Matt. Looks like it was a fun celebration!

STAR VENDOR: MANDY FIERENS PHOTOGRAPHY

From what little I know about the photography world, Mandy Fierens is technically a BIT new on the scene... from looking at her pictures, you'd think she's been doing this for a full lifetime already. I love how she perfectly captures those *moments* that you barely even realize are happening at the time, but will truly cherish forever. She's also possibly the sweetest person you'll ever meet.*
   *do I say that about all of my star vendors? Well, it's TRUE! 

My favorite thing about Mandy is her passion for what she does, and her love of all things creative. I feel like that really shows through her images! Keep reading to hear more from this star photographer.

When did you enter the wedding industry? What made you want to do so?
I started to get involved in the wedding industry 5 years ago. I was very interested in how I could make a living pursuing photography, so I second shot for anyone who would have me! I learned so much from second shooting, and grew to love photographing weddings. After second shooting solely for a few years I would shoot a wedding here and there alone, but never thought about making it real. 

My dear friend Veronica Varos is the one who really inspired me to pursue photography full time. I was at a crossroads after leaving a fashion job of three years, but not ready for another draining full time job. It was perfect timing for me, and I am so happy I took the leap. I am ecstatic to say I that photography pays all of my bills now and I wouldn't have it any other way. I LOVE what I do.

What was your most glittering moment in your business?
I received an amazing e-mail from a photographer who I look up to. She told me that my work "spoke to her". I almost died. It is such an honor having anyone tell you that, but from a fellow photographer who is insanely talented it basically blew my mind. It may or may not be on my wall next to my computer. ;)

What's your grit; what sets you apart?
I think having a fashion and modeling background has allowed me to have a unique twist in the Pittsburgh market. I am and always will be very detail oriented. As for my specialty I think it would be non-traditional and destination weddings. I try to stay away from photographing the same traditional weddings over and over again, I create the best product when I am not re-doing things. I like to challenge myself. A passion of mine is travel, so anytime a couple wants me to fly outside of my city I am thrilled. 

What is your favorite part of what you do?
All of it. I know it seems everyone says that. But seriously, I love the whole process. I love to help my couples so they have the best day of their lives! Being a small part of their big day is so magical.

Please share a most memorable moment in your adventures in the industry.
It is truly difficult to share only one. But I must say it is the BEST feeling in the world when my clients trust me. To have someone believe in your work and your creative process is such a unbelievable feeling. But one thing I am known for is climbing in bushes, and putting my body into odd positions to get "the shot".

Please describe your ideal client, i.e. who will love you, what's your style/niche?
My clients are fun, creative, and unique individuals. A lot of the times my brides are interested in personal style, and sometimes they don't even know it! All of my brides get brownie points if they get their dress from Glitter & Grit! ;) I am a documentary photographer first and an editorial photographer second. I capture things as they happen, but if I see a client is uncomfortable I will assist.

Gritty details
Established: 2010 (weddings)
Price range: $3,280-$6,500 also the option of $2,200 for 5 hours of coverage.
Inclusions or optionsEngagement sessions, elopements, portrait sessions, albums and assorted prints
Location / travel boundariesPittsburgh, PA. Available for (would love to) travel world-wide.
website: mandyfierens.com
phone412.334.8306
Instagram: instagram.com/mandyfierens
Facebookfacebook.com/mandyfierensphotography
Pinterest: pinterest.com/mandyfierens/

STAGE AE WEDDING: KEIRSTIN & ROB

This bride, this wedding... will always hold a special place in my heart. Keirstin and her mom came to Glitter & Grit just four days after I unofficially opened for business. They were both frustrated from prior shopping experiences and close to giving up on finding the wedding dress that was right for Keirstin. Truth be told, my heart sank a little as I realized how... almost beat down they seemed, and what a hard time they had been having; I wasn't sure that I could bring them back from there...

Keirstin might have been my first purchasing customer, but what was more fulfilling than that for me was turning her experience around. Hearing her vision for her wedding day, I knew Keirstin was in the right place; I couldn't have been more excited when she told me they were getting married at Stage AE, and she would love to find a dress with which she could wear her leather jacket. If you know me at all, you know I'm a complete sucker for a bride in leather! When they left the store, the smiles, gratitude, and happiness filled me up with joy. That was the moment I knew, without a doubt, that I was in the right place, doing the right thing. 

Keirstin wore the Elizabeth by Nicole Miller (you MIGHT recognize the back!), with a custom sash by Camilla Christine, both from Glitter & Grit. Keep reading to hear more from the bride!


all photos are courtesy of Josh Mariana Photography

When you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one?

Before coming to Glitter & Grit, I had gone to at least 4 or 5 more traditional, larger bridal shops.  They were pretty awful experiences!  Other than, "Not strapless!"  I was having a hard time articulating what I wanted in a dress.  When I tried on what would eventually become my dress, I knew it was the one because it was comfortable!  I loved the way the satin felt, and it accentuated all of my favorite parts about my body.  The back is so cool!  I could immediately picture myself both walking down the aisle and partying my ass off in this dress.  Plus, my mom started crying when I came out of the dressing room!

What was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it?

Rob's face said it all.  His smile was ear to ear, and his eyes were all sparkly.  Turns out they were tears!  Right after the ceremony, we had a brief minute to ourselves in the back room.  He made me step back so he could really soak it all in.  I loved that he wanted to do that!

Please share your favorite thing about Rob.

My favorite thing about Rob is his inquisitive nature.  He pays incredible attention to detail in everything he does.  Rob is always pushing himself to learn new things, and is able to talk to pretty much anybody about pretty much anything.  He's also hilarious, and quite romantic.  I love that combination of characteristics. It's what makes him a great fit for me.

Did you incorporate any traditions into your wedding?

Our wedding party was not-so-traditional.  Only our siblings stood by our sides during the reception - my brother on my side, and Rob's sister Christine on his. However, we still did incorporate quite a few traditions into the wedding. We both come from Irish heritage, so we asked out siblings to read an Irish blessing during the ceremony.  Also, for our return down the aisle we had our guests ring bells for good luck according to Irish tradition.  During the reception, we used my mother's heirloom champagne toasting glasses, which my great grandmother brought to America with her from Ireland.   

Please describe the most memorable moment of the day.

The whole day was so magical!  To choose one, I'd say stepping out of the backstage area to see the ceremony aisle and backdrop come together the way they did.  It was spectacular! Add on top of that the emotional tidal wave that hit me seeing all of our friends and family together in support of our love, as well as my favorite person in the world waiting for me... memorable moment, indeed!

Do you have any special advice for future brides?

Be genuine to your own style as a couple.  Choosing the venue was the biggest decision for us.  Stage AE really set the scene for the whole vibe of our wedding!

THINKING OUTLOUD: IT'S *NOT* ALL ABOUT THE DRESS.

i was working on my computer at home one day last week, with the t.v. on in the background, not paying much attention to whatever mindless crap that was showing. then this commercial came on. and i found myself having a very physical and emotional reaction to it. seriously. take a moment and go watch it - i'll be right here when you're finished.

photo by Palermo Photo

photo by Palermo Photo

now. i sell wedding dresses, as you might know. so, i should be all about perpetuating the "it's all about the dress" message, right? i also probably shouldn't tell you to go watch my competitor's commercial, either... but i need to rant:
I AM SO ANGRY about this advertisement.

if your fiancee feels that he* is "the invisible man"
or
a "mere cog in the wheel of this carefully choreographed extravaganza"
ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?

then you're doing it wrong.

your wedding is about who each of you are, as individuals, and as a couple. not "all about the bride." or your dress. it's about your love, trust, and commitment to one another. it's about openly sharing that with the people in your lives. i hope that he IS the reason that someone "gets all emotional," at the very least YOU, his bride. if not his mom, your mom, his sister, his best friend, your friends that have been waiting years for this day and are oh-so-excited for you both, etc. etc. etc. 

why do we keep acting like grooms are insignificant? they want this, too. and chances are, they actually asked for it. you decided, together, to get married, and then you decided, together, whether or not you wanted to share that life event with other people. there's even a chance that he wants the wedding more than you, or maybe just has more time, better organizational skills, or is a little more picky than you, and has actually participated in, or taken charge of planning your wedding day. you might choose to wear a pretty dress - or sexy suit - and he probably wants to look a little fancy, too. you might include other things to make the day feel special, like floral arrangements or great live music or a menu featuring all of your favorite foods. even better, you might ask your guests to be active participants in your ceremony or share stories and truths while making a toast at your reception; all of these things celebrating the love you share. THAT'S what it's all about.

is it all about the bride? and your dress?

hell. no.




*i prefer to write less specifically, but yes, sorry; this is a strictly hetero post, since the commercial involved a man and a woman. either way, neither partner should feel invisible or insignificant on your wedding day!!

STAR VENDOR: PICTORY PRODUCTIONS

i never really understood the whole wedding video thing. until i met megan from pictory productions.

one look at her work, and i instantly felt my first wedding regret: i didn't have anything capturing all of those moments in between photos, the action that we missed, or our besties doing a reading from calvin & hobbes, to the surprised enjoyment of our guests. i only have my foggy memories of the kind blessing our bartender/officiant gave us, my father-in-law's teary toast, and i've only heard about the fun that happened away from the tables and dance floor.

if you've ever thought that you might like a videographer for your wedding, you should consider pictory productions.

if you haven't? you should DEFINITELY consider pictory productions.

read on for more from megan:

when did you enter the wedding industry?
Knowing zilch about the wedding industry, I shot my first wedding for a friend in the fall of 2011. Within six months, I made Pictory a full-fledged company.

what was your most glittering moment in your business?
Surviving my first year in business. I went from 2 weddings in 2011 to 20 in 2012. It was trial by fire, completely chaotic for a newbie and I loved every minute of it.

what's your grit, or your specialty?
I specialize in creating 5-minute highlights of the entire wedding day. They're candid, intimate and upbeat. They're like pocket-sized dance parties that you carry around with you and want to show random strangers while you wait in line for coffee.

what is your favorite part of what you do?
Being able to provide a memory that you'll love for a lifetime. A former bride once sent me a video of her baby watching their highlight. His eyes lit up and he was dancing to the music. That's what it's all about. 

please share a most memorable moment in your adventures in the industry.

There's no one single moment that stands out. Most awkward moments include me watching the camera and not my surroundings which cause me to fall down into things like stairwells, groundhog holes and coy ponds. However, my favorite moments are always near the end of the reception when the last few songs are played. There's boundless energy and affection in those moments that I feel honored to be a part of.

please describe your ideal client, i.e. who will love you?
My couples are fun and relaxed. They don't have a panic attack or start ranting if the limo driver is late or if their dress gets dirty. They're more concerned about being with each other and their loved ones than how the table settings are arranged.

gritty details:
established: Spring of 2012
price range: $3,000 - $4,500
inclusions or options: 5-Minute Highlight, 30-Minute Film and Raw Footage
location: Pittsburgh, PA / Earth
website: pictoryproductions.com
facebookPictory Productions
vimeoPictory Productions

OUTDOOR STYLED SHOOT: ELIZABETH ANNE STUDIOS

elizabeth came to glitter & grit with a vision of a glamorous rock & roll bride swimming in her head. we brought that vision to life with the meticulously beaded mary by nicole miller, a faux fur stole by norma ishak (both available at glitter & grit!), and drop-dead flowers by mt. lebanon floral (a glitter & grit star vendor). the end result is somehow both edgy and dreamy; a perfect combination. thank you, elizabeth, for being so sweet and easy to work with!

THINKING OUTLOUD: HEY, GUYS!

i had a realization last week: i really love it when guys come along for a bride's appointment. be it a fiancee, dad, son, grandfather, or good friend, men have a different voice of support that can be insanely helpful.

photo from a hitchburgh hullabaloo by kelsey kradel photography

photo from a hitchburgh hullabaloo by kelsey kradel photography

we ladies have just a little bit of trouble completely removing ourselves and our tastes when shopping with someone else. personal preferences, while openly acknowledged, come into play and things like, "it looks lovely on you; it's just not my style - but it's so you!" are said. it's only natural for us to see a beautiful dress on a friend or loved one and take a second in our minds to consider whether or not we would wear it! there's nothing hurtful in such things, but it's not exactly helpful, either.

the comments that men make are purely based on how the dress looks on you, and their understanding of your style.  they're not distracted by that tiny moment of imagining the dress on themselves (well... at least i don't think so - and if so, to each his own!). it's a really refreshing perspective, and one that's worth considering. to witness a dad's heart swell with love for his beautiful daughter; to hear a fiancee's pure, simple compliments; to see the son's approval via two thumbs up? priceless.

each couple feels differently about the traditions of keeping the dress secret from the groom, and i completely respect that (my husband decided that he did not want to know, while i would have been more than open to him seeing it before the wedding!). but talk about it - don't just assume that he wouldn't want to be a part of the process. consider including your dad or other important men in your life; you won't regret it, i promise!

and... not to toot my own horn, but a few of my male guests have commented on how comfortable they are in glitter & grit. win!

IRON EDEN STYLED SHOOT: VERONICA VAROS

so. you know how i keep talking about that first styled shoot that i did? i'm finally sharing some of the images from that amazing collaboration! this shoot took place at iron eden, which was a truly magical location and an absolutely perfect backdrop for glitter & grit's introduction to the world.

one last time, i'd like to thank everyone involved: veronica varos photography, - and her assistant mandy fierensmt. lebanon floralbliss events, ltd., the drop-dead models, lyra and aubrey, iron eden for the use of their space, ceaser's designs for the stunning jewelry, rania harris for the cake, lendable linensads lighting, and more than words fine papers...

and now for the eye candy!! i'll just let the photos speak for themselves....
{all images courtesy of veronica varos, of course!}

{SIGH.}

THINKING OUTLOUD: A REFLECTION

a milestone, the holidays, the end of the year... these three things have me thinking an awful lot about the past year; the last six months.

this coming weekend marks the six-month anniversary of glitter & grit, and i just cannot believe it's only been six itty-bitty months. i feel so at home, so right in what i'm doing, that it feels like so much longer - in the very best way. i have no way to appropriately thank everyone that has gotten us ("us," meaning me and the store because yeah, we're a couple) this far, but i will try my best. firstly by simply saying: thank you. 

thank you to the customers who have supported my business (and for all of the hugs!!). thank you to the designers for creating amazing dresses that the world so needs. thank you to the friends and family who have supported and lifted me up from the early days of brainstorming.  thank you to the lovely ladies of propelle, for helping me take flight. without all that you have offered, i may not have had the courage to leap, arms spread wide with a huge grin on my face and peace in my heart. you kick ass. 
and lastly, thank you to the local wedding vendors that have welcomed me in my stumbling eagerness to be a part of something so much bigger than each of us... 

seven months ago, before glitter & grit was in any shape to open its doors, i had the honor of providing dresses for an amazing photo shoot with veronica varos photographymt. lebanon floralbliss events, ltd., and a handful of other creatives from around the city. what happened that day was pure magic. ladies: thank you for that entire experience, and for the friendships that followed. and a huge, inappropriately gushing thanks to lindee daniel for hustling to finish part of my opening sample order so that i actually had dresses to use for the shoot! 

since that day, i have been honored to connect and work with a star-studded list of local vendors on various photo shoot and events, and i couldn't possible be more humbled and grateful for each and every connection. 

BEHIND THE SCENES OF MY FIRST STYLED SHOOT!

BEHIND THE SCENES OF MY FIRST STYLED SHOOT!

before opening my doors, i set my intention, here, for exactly what it was that i wanted glitter & grit to be, and i feel that i have upheld my promises to be real, to try to love myself as i am, and to empower other women to shine their damned brightest - every day, but especially on their wedding day.

as the months have passed, i have grown to love every inch of this business so much more than i ever imagined, and that's because of all of you... i wanted to make a difference, and even though, on the surface, trying to do so in the wedding industry seems like a shallow way to do it, it had been immensely rewarding to make women happy - and if i've turned anyone's prior - or anticipated - experience around to a positive one, then i AM making a difference, and one that matters. 

i hope to continue on with my mission in 2014, and to help spread the *love* of self-love and truly personal weddings around pittsburgh. i hope to remain honest, inviting, and accepting in my life and in my business. i hope to keep dreaming and making those dreams come true, for you and for me... but most of all, i hope for a lot more hugs.

xoxo

sweeping and dreaming, as captured by veronica varos - who was selflessly helping me prep the store for opening

sweeping and dreaming, as captured by veronica varos - who was selflessly helping me prep the store for opening

STAR VENDOR: VERONICA VAROS PHOTOGRAPHY

i've really been looking forward to sharing with you a little bit more about veronica varos photography. if you've looked around on the website or the glitter & grit facebook page, you've probably seen some of her work. i met veronica before the store was even open, and instantly connected. she's an insanely kind soul, and mega-talented to boot. if you're looking for a photographer to capture each special moment of your wedding day, this is your gal. oh, and p.s. - veronica also offers amazingly elegant boudoir sessions! 

{scroll down to see & hear a little more from veronica}

when did you enter the wedding industry? what made you want to do so?
-My first wedding was in July of 2008. I had been a concert photographer for years at that point and had a friend who asked me to photograph her wedding. I was hesitant. Extremely. But I did it and I loved it. I shot half of the wedding on film and half digitally. It felt really comfortable and reminded me a lot of concert photography. (With wedding AND concert photography, you must be on your toes, you must catch moments as they happen - you cannot recreate anything, you have to be quick with the always changing lighting situations, and they're both very fast paced.) A cousin of mine from Boston visited shortly after and gave me the extra push and support I needed to make the switch. (She's an incredibly talented wedding photographer - so that extra encouragement was so helpful!) Making the switch into the wedding world was certainly one the best choices I've ever made!

what was your most glittering moment in your business?
-I love it all. Can I say that? When I initially receive an inquiry from an eager bride and groom, that's glittering. When I meet with that excited couple and we share stories over coffee and tea, it's glittering. The day of the wedding is a glittering experience - of course. And, after the delivery of the images, the crying thank you phone calls, the quickly typed excited emails expressing pure joy, or the well thought out thank you letter. Those moments will stick with me forever. Perhaps, if I had to narrow it down to one glittering moment (per client!) it would be that moment. The final delivery of those incredibly special moments and the reactions from the couples.

what's your grit / what sets you apart?

- I take pride in the fact that I'm not a cookie-cutter wedding photographer. I'm not a traditional photographer. and it's my goal to be a fly on the wall of each wedding day, preferring to photograph things as they happy naturally, rather than posing them. I absolutely love receiving emails after the fact, saying things like, "I don't even remember you being there for that!" or "I had forgotten that even happened!"

please share a most memorable moment in your adventures in the industry.
- I had the pleasure of working on a styled shoot with Glitter & Grit (the lovely Erin!) and a number of other amazing vendors earlier this year. It's something that will stick with me forever. Erin, Carmel at Mt. Lebanon Floral, Ansley at Bliss Events, and I spent months meeting and preparing for the shoot and on the big day - it was clear all of that time had paid off. It was so beautiful, so perfect, so everything-I-expected-and-more. But it wasn't only a wonderful and memorable experience in terms of details and work. I walked away from the shoot with closer friendships with some of my absolute favorite vendors in the business which was just wonderful.

please describe your ideal client, i.e. who will love you? 
-My clients tend to be very creative individuals. Sometimes they are obviously creative based on their professions. Artists, inventors, architects. Sometimes, their professions do not necessarily scream artist. Lawyers, scientists. But regardless of age, profession, or hobbies - the bottom line is that they always have some sort of creative side - some massive appreciation for art or photography. I've been lucky enough to book my ideal clients for the last few years and I certainly hope that streak never stops! :)

gritty details:
established: 2008 (weddings)
price range: Currently average bookings between $3500 - $5000, starting at $1800 for four hours of coverage.
inclusions or options: Engagement or other portrait sessions, albums, and prints available.
location: Pittsburgh
websitehttp://veronicavaros.com
emailhello@veronicavaros.com
facebookveronicavarosphotography
twitter@veronicavaros
instagraminstagram.com/veronicavaros

BEDFORD SPRINGS BRIDE: LAUREN

i'm so very, very excited to share with you the first glitter & grit bride, lauren! lauren was so much fun when she and her mom first came to visit glitter & grit; i just knew she was destined to have a joyous and beautiful wedding - and the pictures easily confirmed that hunch.

she and david were married at the gorgeous omni bedford springs resort in bedford, pa on september 22nd. lauren looked simply stunning in her Nicole Miller dress and Camilla Christine sash, both from glitter & grit. scroll down to see photos and more details from the bride, herself!

all photos are courtesy of the wonderfully talented kelsey kradel.

when you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one?

I knew i was looking for a lace dress that was both beautiful and regal but i also wanted dress that was elegantly simple, comfortable, and one that i could receive within a short time frame! i knew the Nicole Miller Aneka was "the one" the second i tried it on because it encompassed everything that i was looking for in a wedding dress! additionally, the gorgeous Megan sash by Camilla Christine instantly added a hint of glitz and pizazz that solidified the whole look!

what was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it?
my husband had a huge smile (and he has the best smile!)! kelsey kradel, our photographer, caught our "first look" perfectly! it was such a special moment; we were so excited to be married soon after we first saw each other.

tell us your favorite thing about david...
there are too many to count - it's hard to pick just one! aside from his loyalty, integrity, and quick-witted humor, i adore how he is so family oriented; he is already is an amazing husband and I know he will be an incredible father one day too. i truly feel so grateful to be married to someone who i admire so much and who is also my best friend.

did you incorporate any traditions into your day?
we did! we had had a traditional Jewish ceremony where we were married under a chuppa, signed a ketubah, and had a "breaking-of-the-glass". the chuppa symbolizes the home that we plan to create together; the ketubah is our "marriage contract" which also served as our vows to each other; and "breaking-of-the-glass" represents that love, like glass, is fragile and must be protected.

please describe the most memorable moment of the day.
over our morning coffee before before all of the primping started, my husband gave me a beautifully handwritten card. it set the tone to our absolutely perfect wedding day.

would you do anything differently, if you had to do it all again?
there is really nothing i would do differently except get married sooner!! perhaps i should have worn a veil but at the time a single orchid seemed just right.

thank you so much for sharing, lauren! best wishes - and continue to shine brightly!

OPEN BY PRIVATE APPOINTMENT 

5300 BUTLER STREET, PITTSBURGH PA 15201

{412}781-2375

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